There is a long tradition in the history of design of working with four hands. These encounters and dialogues have often produced fascinating results — some of which have been undertaken at Galerie kreo.
Pierre Charpin x Alessandro Mendini
The 'All'aperto' bench, for example, combines a form by Pierre Charpin with a motif by Alessandro Mendini. These two designers, despite coming from different generations, had known and appreciated each other for a long time. There existed a personal and conceptual filiation between them, the work of the Italian master having greatly influenced that of the French designer.
The 'All'aperto' bench is made of mosaics, a material that was used for centuries in the design of Roman baths with Byzantine floors. Mendini was one of the first to bring the material back into fashion, namely on the occasion of his project to decorate the interior of the Groningen Museum in Holland. With Pierre Charpin, he used the material again, presenting it in the bright and colorful palette that Charpin has become known for. In its final form, the piece comes to life and echoes its name — as All'aperto means 'outside' in Italian, and thus posits as an invitation to step outdoors.
As Charpin mused, "simplification is undoubtedly one of the most important constants in my practice. To simplify is in a way to offer a suspension of meaning...to give greater freedom of movement.”
‘Let’s talk about titanium’
Dan Friedman x Alessandro Mendini
Mendini also collaborated on another project presented by Galerie kreo in 2001 entitled 'Let's talk about titanium', and conceived with the American artist Dan Friedman — undoubtedly one of the most important graphic designers of his generation, who created, amongst other things, the Aids logo and the graphic identity of City Bank. Together, the two designers created a collection based on Friedman's graphics, as well as an unusual material for furniture: titanium, mixed with lacquered metal, bronze, onyx stone...
The pieces bore furniture names but were more like esoteric altars, micro-architectures. "We talked about titanium and elemental volumes..., pictograms, water, silence and geometry," Mendini explained.
The project was developed between the two creators over a number of years but only came to fruition after Dan Friedman's death, on account of Mendini's determination and the gallery's enthusiasm.
"It's true, these objects are quite austere, sad”, Mendini explains. “They carry the story of my meeting with Dan Friedman, more than ten years ago, whose graphic design I liked very much - he designed the Aids logo. They also evoke his death in 1995, and my very romantic desire to see this common project through to the end. Today, Dan's drawings have taken shape, like church objects. (...)
Life is a labyrinth, and so is my work. In this exhibition we find the same desire to confront very different materials, here industrial titanium and ancestral bronze. And the treatment of the surface of the objects. The decoration is a kind of literature placed on the object, to arouse emotions. It is also the first form of art. I like what impregnates the collective memory of the world, mixing popular art and elite art."
1049 floor lamp
Vittoriano Vigano x Gino Sarfatti
When considering collaborative work in design, one must also mention the two Italian masters Gino Sarfatti and Vittoriano Vigano. While Sarfatti was the father of rational lighting, Vigano was a leading figure in Italian Brutalism, and together, the two produced some of the most iconic models of lighting to date.
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec